Joe Wertz

StateImpact Oklahoma

Joe has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Brian Hardzinski / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Donald Trump is wooing energy-state voters by promising a presidency that will champion coal, promote drilling and free frackers from federal regulations limiting oil and gas development.

If the Republican candidate’s energy platform sounds like it was written specifically for fossil fuel companies, that’s because an Oklahoma oil billionaire helped craft it.

Trump delivered his first major speech on U.S. energy policy at a petroleum conference in the capital city of one the country’s most oil-rich states, Bismark, North Dakota.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

City leaders in Edmond adopted a resolution urging citizens to reject State Question 777. Their counterparts in Choctaw appear likely to do the same, and the Norman City Council has booked a presentation from an organization fighting against the question, which would amend the state constitution to include the “right-to-farm” and prevent lawmakers from passing legislation impeding farming, ranching and agriculture.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After five years of court proceedings and confidential negotiations, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations have reached an agreement with the state over control of water in southeast Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is still experiencing an unusually large amount of shaking, but the rate of earthquakes recorded in 2016 is down from last year.

The slowdown is likely due to reductions in the amount of waste-fluid the oil industry is pumping into disposal wells, which are thought to be causing most of the shaking.

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area in south-central Oklahoma is not a national park — but it used to be. And the story of what happened illustrates a changing view of what national parks are for.

For over a century, the area's mineral-rich springs have been a gathering point for locals, travelers and tribes that were forcibly relocated to land that later became Oklahoma, says Debbie Sharp, president of the Friends of Chickasaw National Recreation Area, a nonprofit group.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Linn Energy needs a new compressor plant to serve customers in the SCOOP and STACK, hot oil and natural gas plays with very little infrastructure in place to collect and pump natural gas to existing pipeline systems.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The National Park Service turns 100 this year, and many states are celebrating top-tier environmental landmarks that are a big source of local pride. About half the U.S. states don’t have a national park — including Oklahoma.

That wasn’t always the case, and the story of what happened illustrates a changing view of what national parks are for.

‘A PARK OF THE PEOPLE’

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Oklahoma remained No. 4 in the U.S. in installed wind power capacity during the second quarter of 2016, but a national industry group expects the state to move up the ranks by the end of the year.

No new wind farms have been completed in recent months, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association, but more than 1,000 megawatts are currently under construction, The Oklahoman's Paul Monies reports:

Oklahoma’s four primary environmental agencies have lost more than $15 million in state appropriations and tens of millions of dollars in legislatively directed reductions to revolving funds, OETA reports.

Becky McCray / Flickr

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association might push Oklahoma legislators to extend some of the rights afforded oil and natural gas properties to alternative forms of energy like wind and solar, the Journal Record’Brian Brus reports:

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